If you’d like to vote for nature in the upcoming provincial election, the results of a survey conducted for the Green Prosperity groups will be of interest. Thirteen leading environmental organizations, including Ontario Nature, asked the four major political parties to describe their vision for making Ontario an environmental leader.
Liberal Response: The Ontario Liberal Party believes that our natural world sustains us – our businesses, communities and quality of life.
As an active participant in Canada’s Pathway initiative, Ontario supports the federal government’s commitment to protect 17 per cent of Canada’s terrestrial lands and inland waters by 2020. We look forward to receiving the recommendations that come out of the Pathway work, including how Ontario could contribute toward both the quantitative and qualitative elements of Canada Target 1. In the interim, our government continues to collaborate with representatives from all levels of government, Indigenous groups and others to protect and conserve areas throughout the province.
We will be providing $15 million over three years to agencies, land trusts and individual land stewards to help conserve biodiversity in settled areas. Moreover, we will continue to collaborate with First Nations on Community-Based Land Use Plans which include identifying new dedicated protected areas in the Far North of Ontario. In 2017, we added nearly 2,600 hectares to provincial parks and conservation reserves – this includes a new nature reserve class park that ensures a provincially significant wetland is protected.
PC Response: No response.
NDP Response: The Ontario NDP will protect more of Ontario’s wild spaces, including an expansion of Ontario’s parks system, in consultation with First Nations.
Green Response: In order to meet the Aichi targets agreed to by Canada and Ontario, which require protection of at least 17% of Ontario’s lands and waters, the Green Party of Ontario supports:
Setting aside a minimum of 17% of the land base in protected areas according to the internationally agreed upon Aichi biodiversity targets.
Establishing a rigorous provincial biodiversity monitoring and reporting program as an early warning system of species loss. This would include information on Ontario’s wildlife, including population trends and habitat quality, so that we can monitor the province’s biodiversity to identify and mitigate decline.
Creating an inventory and designating provincially significant wetlands and grasslands on an ongoing basis, and requiring that they be protected in municipal official plans within one year of their designation as such.
Providing incentives for pollinator-friendly farming practices and invest in research about the economic value of wild pollinators for farmers and their crops.
Establishing an independent science advisory body on wild native pollinators to ensure that the best available science informs implementation and evaluation of the government’s Pollinator Health Action Plan.
Banning logging and other resource extraction in all provincial parks where ecological integrity is threatened, including Algonquin Park which remains open to logging in 65% of its area.
Establishing and expanding safe harbour protections to support and financially reward good stewards of our land. This would compensate farmers and residential landowners for the public good they provide in protecting endangered species and at-risk ecosystems on their property.
For the parties’ positions on other topics, including wetlands, endangered species, climate action and more, click here.
Be sure to vote on June 7, 2018!
Ontario Nature is a charity that has been protecting wild species and wild spaces through education, conservation and public engagement since 1931. We are there when nature needs us most.